OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A product of both MAPS 3 and 4, the Coliseum, will replace the nearly 60-year-old Jim Norick Arena.

It’s a major step forward for a venue that means so much to not just Oklahomans – but people around the world.

“If you’re a young person in Oklahoma and you’re involved in agriculture or you’re a young person in Oklahoma and you play basketball, this is your Mecca,” said OKC Mayor David Holt. 

“We get calls about once a week from major equestrian and livestock events, trying to see if there might be room on the calendar to potentially move their shows here to Oklahoma City,” said Kirk Slaughter, President and CEO of Oklahoma State Fair, Inc. 

From state championship basketball games to some of the biggest equestrian and livestock events in the country – the Jim Norick Arena is a place exhibitors and their four legged-teammates train their whole lives to compete.

These competitors come from not only across the country – but the world – spending weeks at a time in OKC.

Events held at the fairgrounds have a greater economic impact than all other city-owned entertainment venues combined.

“This place is an economic engine for our community,” said Zac Craig, President of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. “Specifically, this place generates $350 million of direct spend that goes right back into our economy each and every year – and it’s just incredible.”

City and state fair leaders hope the more than 215-thousand-square-foot coliseum will help continue that legacy.

The new construction will feature seating for more than 7,000 people, a lounge, suites, a full service restaurant and upscale concession areas – turning the dirt over on a new era of excellence – that first began in the Jim Norick Arena.

“But as I turn it very gently, I’m going to turn one for myself, and I’m going to turn one shovel of dirt for my dad. Jim, talk – and he’d be very proud of that,” said Former Oklahoma City Mayor Ron Norick. 

The $126 million coliseum project is funded by both MAPS 3 and 4 as well as hotel tax revenue and other funding sources.

The Jim Norick Arena will continue to be home to events until the new coliseum is complete.

It’s set to be complete in 2025.